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Jan. 6, 2021, 11:32 a.m. EST

Authorities probe threat of attack on U.S. Capitol

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By Andy Pasztor

Aviation, law-enforcement and national-security officials are investigating an unauthorized message sent on an air-traffic control channel threatening an attack against the U.S. Capitol today, according to people familiar with the matter.

The threat was transmitted Monday on a radio frequency used by the Federal Aviation Administration facility that handles high-altitude traffic around the New York metropolitan region, one of these people said. It is among the FAA’s busiest air-traffic control centers, located in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

The message likely was able to be transmitted, one person said, because the air-traffic control system is accessible by some portable scanners available to consumers, aviation buffs and pilots.

CBS News, which first reported the threat, played a recording of an apparently computer-generated voice saying: “We are flying a plane into the Capitol Wednesday.” The message indicated the motivation was to avenge the U.S. government’s 2020 assassination of a prominent Iranian military leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com

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